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GM Mulls Building Saturns in Belgium

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GM mulls building Saturns in Belgium

No. 1 automaker considers retooling Antwerp plan.

November 23 2006: 10:52 AM EST

Link to Original Article @ CNNMoney.com

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) -- U.S. carmaker General Motors Corp is considering building Saturns at its plant in the Belgian city of Antwerp, a spokeswoman said, in a move that could spare workers from reported job cuts.

According to Belgian media, General Motors (Charts) planned to cut up to 1,000 jobs at its plant in Antwerp, Belgium's second-largest city. German rival Volkswagen this week said it would slash about 70 percent of its workforce in the Belgian capital.

"We have an investigation phase to see if it is feasible to build Saturns in Europe and since Antwerp is an Astra plant then it is one of the possibilities," General Motors Europe spokeswoman Nathalie Van Impe said.

The Saturn brand includes a model similar to the Opel Astra.

Belgian financial daily De Tijd reported Thursday that such a move would be at odds with the rumored job cuts.

Asked about the implications for job security if Saturn production started in Antwerp, she said: "(Job cuts) are not an option in the short term."

She noted however that Astra volumes were falling in Europe and the group was mulling options to deal with overcapacity.

If volume continues to go down, "we will discuss this with our social partners," she said.

GM and it's rival Ford (Charts) have production facilities overseas in an increasingly globalized automotive industry. At the same time, Japanese carmaker Toyota (Charts) is poised to knock GM from it's top selling domestic spot. Finally, fellow Japanese carmaker Honda (Charts) has plants in the U.S.

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Globalization is starting to make an impact. Not only do we have the possibility of Holdens coming to America as Pontiacs, we also have the possibility of Saturns from Europe. If GM can continue to globalize, it may help the advantage it needs. Toyota and Honda do it. They do it for platforms and for factories in other countries. the only thing I fear from this is loss of jobs here in the United States..

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It'll be interesting to see how this goes? Will this end the "Domestic Sucks" mentality regarding Saturn's?

Then again, Euro quality isn't too great either...

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It'll be interesting to see how this goes? Will this end the "Domestic Sucks" mentality regarding Saturn's?

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My parents were chatting, and the only "American" brand they'd consider right now is Saturn. My mom likes the Vue Green Line, and my dad likes the Sky a lot.

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All I can say about this article is: "Welcome to several months ago"

We have known for a while now that the upcoming Saturn Astra would be built out of Opel's Belgium plant and exported next year. I think they're probably done deciding and already making changes.

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